Writers Have a Duty to Help Other Writers

By Mark Antony Rossi

This one’s been sitting on my chest for quite some time. Unlike most people I practice exactly what I preach. Writers have a duty to help other writers. I always do in myriad ways. You should as well.

As writers if you write about your crappy marriage, crappy job and how the world is utterly unfair then you have a cosmic obligation to help your fellow writers. And on a side note if you are courageous enough to confess deep sadness be strong enough to take real ownership. No one wants to hear about how this poem is not about you. Excuse me. I digress.

Anything less than helping writers invalidates your social complaints similar to those sharp citizens who criticize the government and the judicial system but never bother to vote or serve on a jury. They always have an excuse but excuses like mist disappear in the hands of the needy.

I help other writers with no expectation of them offering any help in return. I do it because it’s the right thing to do for artists and the arts. And I usually receive virtually nothing in return. The editors among them nearly never offer to consider your work or other writers who you have helped publish.

Some enjoy preaching about religion but can’t stop taking gobs of money from decent writers seeking to be part of unholy anthologies that belong in my cat’s litter box. This is not helping writers and it’s more painful when this scam is built by a writer. Stay away from these fools.

Others enjoy the mystic eastern approach where you sound spiritual but still manage to do nothing for anyone but yourself. Not sure if Buddha would high five this dance in front of a mirror but I’m not feeling the astral forces channeling through my life. You want some Karmic advice: do something to help a writer other than yourself at least once a week.

And then we have the folks who manage to host podcasts, radio shows and streaming gigs who somehow forget about anyone who ever published with them, praised them or spent time supporting their books. You don’t see or hear anyone on these shows you know or recognize. Suddenly it’s a “my friend is cool” jamboree. Or I’ll promote people who write or sound just like me.

Writers can be their own worst enemies. By neglecting their part in improving the lives of other writers they fast become a problem and not a solution. How hard is it to accept a free ebook and help another writer with a review? Or do some beta reading for a writer who doesn’t have a $1000 to hire a semi-useful professional editor? Or drop a hint about a journal that might accept a writer’s distinct style?

None of these things are difficult to accomplish when you lift your head from your navel and realize there’s a world beyond YOU. How do we stay relevant as writers if we are willing to pee from roofs but call it rain? How can we keep our moral edge if we act like the rest of the world? You might think it’s unfair but I expect more from writers than this selfish nonsense. All too often writers act like the politicians they claim to despise. They become greedy and imperial like the corporate titans they claim are ruining the world. When there is no difference between the writer and the average boob tube bonehead we have to toss the keyboard into the garbage. And adopt the numerical burger menu choices. You know the ones that don’t require thinking only blinking.

You have a duty to help other writers and when you shirk that duty you begin to walk the road to rhetorical ruin. Your voice rings hollow. Your mind is mush. And your talent once a gift from the creator is now reduced to the same level as those who sell toothpaste to soccer moms. Turn it around. Help other writers. You have a duty. Whether you like it or not.

About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York.

 

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